Most people have that one friend who is a wonderful person but unfortunately tends to make bad decisions when drinking. As friends, we’d like to help them stay out of trouble, and especially keep them and others safe. Part of this involves keeping them from driving after drinking. Doing your part to help your friend could prevent them from hurting others and getting in trouble with the law.
Did you know that a conviction for driving under the influence never goes away in Florida? DUI is one of the most serious misdemeanor offenses for which a person may face charges. A DUI can lead to administrative and criminal penalties such as:
- Up to a year of incarceration
- Steep fines
- DUI school
- Community service
- Loss of driver’s license
The specifics of your penalties depend on the details of your DUI case. Additional penalties may also be possible. Your best bet to avoid charges is to avoid driving with an elevated BAC. How can you judge yourself or your friends’ impairment a night out?
Signs of Alcohol Impairment
Most people know that the legal blood alcohol concentration in Florida and the rest of the United States is 0.08% That’s a good piece of information, but you can’t really measure BAC on your own unless you have a portable breathalyzer handy. After indulging in festivities, you might have trouble deciding who in your party is too drunk to drive. Rest assured, you can gauge with decent accuracy who is impaired by paying close attention to their behavior and speech.
Physical, Verbal, and Behavioral Signs of Intoxication
People experience intoxication very similarly across the board. Some of the most obvious indications of impairment are:
- Facial redness
- Slurred speech
- Trouble balancing
- Lack of coordination
- Delayed reaction time
- Inability to stand still
- Difficulty walking straight
- Bumping into furniture or other objects
More subtle indications that a person is not fit to operate a vehicle include:
- Loud and disorderly conduct
- Erratic behavior
- Losing emotional control
- Becoming aggressive or violent
- Becoming argumentative
- Using offensive language
- Reduced attention span
- Inappropriate sexual behavior
Avoiding a DUI in West Palm Beach
There are several options for avoiding a DUI in a city like West Palm Beach. A person who is intoxicated can cause an accident at any time if he drives, so it’s best not to take chances and do everything possible to keep them from driving.
- Choose a designated driver. One of the easiest ways of avoiding a DUI and making sure everyone gets home safely is to decide as a group which one of you will be the designated driver for the night. If you hang out with this group of friends regularly, you could decide to rotate the designated driver so that each time you go out, a different friend takes the responsibility. If you didn’t plan ahead of time how you will get to and from the establishment where you were drinking, and you all had alcoholic drinks, choose a different option for getting home safely.
- Rideshare apps. One of the easiest things you can do these days is to call an Uber or Lyft or traditional taxi to take the person home and offer to drive their car back for them. Considering that Florida is considered one of the worst 20 states in which to receive a DUI charge, it is likely your friend will appreciate the favor when he sobers up.
- Let the intoxicated friend stay the night. If you hosted a get together at your place, it’s courteous to allow your friends to spend the night rather than let them drive themselves back home. Make sure they drink plenty of water throughout the night and that they are alert in the morning before they depart.
A DUI charge and/or car accident can easily be avoided with some thoughtful planning before an event that involves alcohol takes place.
Calling a DUI Lawyer for Criminal Defense
In life, most things don’t work out as planned. If police arrest you for DUI, you could face significant complications even if you are never convicted of the offense. One of the best ways to maintain a sense of normalcy during the criminal process is to work with a DUI lawyer who will advocate for you. Do not hesitate to fight a DUI charge with the help of an experienced DUI attorney in West Palm Beach.
Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel has dedicated decades of his career to fighting DUI throughout the Sunshine State, and holds a stellar reputation among judges, prosecutors, police officers, and fellow lawyers in Palm Beach County. Call (561) 622-5575 for a free case evaluation or complete a contact form.